I have brewed schwarzbier once before, and it came out pretty good. I wanted to revisit the style as a warmer-weather dark beer, and so picked out a second recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. This version differed from the last in that it emphasizes pilsner malt more than Munich.
I am contractually obligated to use Space Balls references in any schwarzbier name, with zero apologies from doing so. Thank you.
- 9 lb. Viking Pilsner Zero malt
- 1 lb. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
- 11 oz. Carafa Special II malt (Weyermann)
- 1 oz. Vanguard hop pellets (6.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 0.5 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 15 minute boil
- 0.5 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 5 minute boil
- 1 tsp. Fermax, 10 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- Repitch of Harvest lager yeast (Imperial L17)
- 1.049 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 4.7% abv, 30 IBU, 24 SRM
- 60 minute infusion mash at 152°, full volume
- Claremont tap water, treated with Campden tablet
- I mashed in with 7.5 gallons of water at 158°, to hit my mash target of 152°. After adding 5 mL of 88% lactic acid, I held the mash at 152°, with recirculation, for 60 minutes. I then raised the mash to 168°.
- After the mash, I removed the grain basket and collected 6.75 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.041, for 69% mash efficiency.
- I brought the wort to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled it down to 70°, before transferring to the fermenter and chilling down to 52° in the fermentation chamber.
- After the wort hit fermentation temperature, I oxygenated with 30 seconds of pure O2, and then pitched the yeast.
- I brewed this beer on 6 February 2021. It had a starting gravity of 1.048.
- I started fermentation at 52°, held it here for three days, raised to 54° for three days, and then finished at 56° for three days, before cold crashing.
- I kegged the beer on 27 February 2021. Final gravity was 1.014, for 4.5% abv.
- Brilliantly clear, deep brown beer, pouring with a persistent tan head.
- Roasty and coffee aroma, at a moderately high level.
- Roasty malt and coffee flavor, with a bready malt character in the background. Moderately high level of bitterness. Clean yeast character. Extended bitterness on the finish.
- Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry finish.
- Would I brew this again?
- Perhaps? It’s a good, clean beer, but if feels like I could dial back the roast/coffee character a touch and move the base malts (especially the Munich) more to the forefront. I think if I were to rebrew this, I would add a bit more Munich, or maybe add in some Vienna, and reduce the percentage of pilsner malt. That said, this beer is very drinkable, so I wouldn’t make it too heavy for the base malts. Based on the BJCP written descriptions, it seems to be a great example of the schwarzbier style, but just isn’t to my taste.
May the Schwartz be with you!
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